4,665 Comments

Comments

MJO says ...
<p>Your August article in the WSJ is one of the most coherent arguments for the alternatives to Obamacare that I have read. </p> <p>I am one of those people who don't think too much of the organic food value proposition and have avoided shopping at Whole Foods for the last 30 something years (since I was a student at UT in the 70s and Whole Foods/Saferway and I were both young). </p> <p>In solidarity with your common sense approach to healthcare, I am now an enthusiastic WF customer.</p> <p>Mark in Boca Raton</p>
11/02/2009 6:00:00 PM CST
Shayne says ...
<p>Check out this video from Frontline showing what regulation of the derivitives market did to the economy, it's interesting that Greenspan's role model was a Libertarian. Greenspan has now come out and said he was wrong on his view of the markets. I think this is why people have so much angst on this board, John Mackay should watch this video:</p> <p> <a href="http://web.archive.org/web/20101020182743/http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/warning/view/?utm_campaign=homepage&amp;utm_medium=top5&amp;utm_source=top5" rel="nofollow">http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/warning/view/?utm_campaign=homepage&amp;utm_medium=top5&amp;utm_source=top5</a></p>
11/03/2009 10:57:00 PM CST
KM says ...
<p>I agree with you, John Mackay. Thank you for being courageous enough to stand tall and say the right thing. You really understand economics and how the currently proposed sweeping health care package will not give any of us tax-payers affordable health care. The current disaster on the table will cause even more economic hardship on the tax-payers than we have now.</p>
11/05/2009 2:16:00 PM CST
Mr. Clare Wellnitz says ...
<p>Comment on 'Health Care Reform ' Full Article Aug 14, 2009:<br> This is THE BEST article I have ever read on this topic. Hands Down!<br> I'm 55 yrs old, male, work out with weights &amp; running, eat healthy and do herbal detox 2ce a week to keep my innards cleaned out. I look 40. I never brag about my health, but the benefits are worth it, including a post-age-50 maturing process.<br> A favorite Bible verse:<br> Therefore, I discipline my body, and bring it<br> into subjection, unless, when I have spoken to<br> others, I become disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:27<br> Regards, Clare W Costa Mesa, CA</p>
11/05/2009 3:03:00 PM CST
PT Smoot says ...
<p>Well said'I will shop at Whole Foods more often to support you and your company's policies!</p>
11/05/2009 3:27:00 PM CST
Cary says ...
<p>I enjoyed your Reason.TV interview particularly your lucid explanation of why you believe in capitalism. I sent the link to my friends. I am a shareholder and a customer and support your efforts to expand knowledge of capitalism and its benefits. I am very happy to see that the supposed boycott by the limousine liberals didn't bear fruit. Guess they couldn't find the good stuff for their cocktail parties any place else. Keep up the good work.</p> <p>- A Fellow Radical for Capitalism</p>
11/05/2009 10:56:00 PM CST
Joan Lawrence says ...
<p>I agree that individuals are largely responsible for their own health. They are responsible for what they feed their bodies.</p> <p>All you have to do is look at an American grocery store and you can see what people eat. Most grocery stores have at least one side of an aisle with soda pop. Then there is a whole isle with potatoe chips and corn chips. One side of an aisle with candy. One side of an isle with ice cream. Another isle with cookies. I'm talking about the full length of an isle here. The majority of the bread display is white balloon bread that has almost no nutrition in it. I recently heard it described as just an envelope for meat.</p> <p>When we need medical care, we need it. But we can take good care of ourselves by eating healthy food that contains good nutrition and not need it so much.</p>
11/09/2009 11:44:00 AM CST
Gooner says ...
<p><strong>Inflammatory </strong>Typical old white guy. There is a special place in hell for greedy people like you.</p>
11/09/2009 11:52:00 AM CST
Megan O'Leary says ...
<p>Great article. Thank you, and I am very proud to be part of the Whole Foods team! <img src="The%20CEO%E2%80%99s%20Blog%20%C2%BB%20Blog%20Archive%20%C2%BB%20Health%20Care%20Reform%20%E2%80%93%20Full%20Article_files/icon_smile.gif" alt=":-)" class="wp-smiley"></p>
11/09/2009 10:50:00 PM CST
Bella Smith says ...
<p>I agree with your article! Thanks for speaking truth.</p> <p>Reform is needed. Health care for the poor is needed but 'insurance' won't solve the problem. </p> <p>I am not an expect in health care but all we have to do is look at Medicare and see the government isn't either.</p>
11/16/2009 9:30:00 PM CST
Maguire says ...
<p>In some ways you are right, but I still feel that the notion of socialized health is essential to this country. We are too wealthy a nation in both money and resources to turn a blind eye to the needs of our fellow citizens.<br> To truly reform health care, it is going to require everyone to give a little. But the medical industry itself also needs to bear part of the burden and preventative methods need to be implemented.<br> There has been an average increase of 125% in insurance premiums since 1999, this is too extreme to simply lie on the shoulders of the insurance companies alone.<br> According to Dr. Eva Mor 'The administration of the existing health delivery system is bloated with waste and unnecessary cost. If information was shared by all providers of health services and all insurers by using computerized systems to store all medical records, it would cut costs and reduce errors that would save and improve lives.'<br><a href="http://web.archive.org/web/20101020182743/http://www.ourblook.com/component/option,com_sectionex/Itemid,200076/id,8/view,category/#catid107" rel="nofollow">http://www.ourblook.com/component/option,com_sectionex/Itemid,200076/id,8/view,category/#catid107</a><br> Many doctors and medical professionals are facing the health care debate and reassessing the industry on a whole. There are many aspects such as IT that could assist in the decrease of overspending. However, several of them also believe in an need for regulation in procedural costs, in conjunction with a preventative care system.</p>
11/18/2009 4:01:00 PM CST
dg says ...
<p>The three ingredients consumed the most by humans are:<br> 1. wheat<br> 2. oil/buter<br> 3. processed sucrose/sugar</p> <p>Most people who buy whole foods know that the problem with most of these ingredeints are genetic modification, insecticides, pesticides, additives &amp; preservatives.<br> However the last of these ingredients sucrose/sugar they dont think about much. Sugar goes in most foods we eat. the chemicals used in processing sugar cane juice/fructose to processed sugar/sucrose damages the pancreas and disrupts the body's glycogen-insulin feedback loop ' a start to a lot of the health problems. </p> <p>what is the solution ' stop using processed sugar/sucrose &amp; start using sugar cane juice. Like your fresh daily botteled milk get fresh daily botteled sugar cane juice</p>
11/20/2009 5:22:00 PM CST
Todd Anderson says ...
<p>Mr. Mackey,</p> <p>As an American Patriot and a Libertarian Conservative I salute you in having the courage and more importantaly the integrity to speak out against harmful legislation and for presenting common sense ideas to address the systemic healthcare problems that actually do require an overhaul.</p> <p>I will continue to frequent your stores and will endeavor to increase my patronage of your establishments.</p>
11/21/2009 11:08:00 AM CST
Shayne K says ...
<p>This whole thing comes down to business, Whole Foods believes in the free market system, which is largely responsible for the reason we have to go to a 'whole food store' to get real food. I'm not saying people shouldn't take responsibility, but look at all the advertising and propaganda out there, if business was truly 'conscious' this wouldn't be happening, business based on nothing but growth everlasting is making people sick, so why shouldn't there be public health care? Until the day business is regulated to its triple bottom line, public health care might have to be the transition solution. The free market system is not the answer, it's the reason we're in this mess!!! Deregulation only works when you're fighting for Main Street not Wall Street!!!!</p>
11/21/2009 12:09:00 PM CST
Jonathan Wexler says ...
<p>Dear Mr. Mackey,</p> <p>I was an enthusiastic Whole Foods shopper until I read your appalling article. Now, let me say that, until you are permenantly removed as CEO of Whole Foods, I will not spend one more penny in a Whole Foods market. And, if I could take back the thousands of dollars I spent at Whole Foods over the years ' believe me, I would!</p> <p>Sincerely,<br> Jonathan Wexler (former Whole Foods customer)</p>
11/23/2009 6:15:00 PM CST
inmobiliaria madrid says ...
<p>After reading this post, I regret that I missed your article on Wall Street Journal. I also think the same that there is a much necessity of Health Care Reform in various countries. With change in time and diseases, this change is very much needed and the Government should take care about this strictly.</p>
11/26/2009 11:14:00 AM CST
Laura Mannino says ...
<p><strong>Inflammatory </strong>I cannot believe what I'm reading.</p> <p>This article is written by an ignorant person who has no idea what he's saying.<br> Health care is not more important than having a car? WHAT THE F&amp;*#'¦.???!!??<br> I was born and raised in Italy, where health care is provided by public institutions and it's almost for free.<br> If you have an emergency, you don't have to pay the ER.<br> If you go to the ER and the emergency was not really an emergency, you pay a fixed amount for the treatment ' usually 50 bucks or so.</p> <p>For all other treatments, yes there may be a wait. But it's free. And it's good.</p> <p>If you are wealthy and you don't want to wait in line, you can go and pay a doctor.</p> <p>Most of the times, though, specialized doctors will see you for free in a hospital.</p> <p>Mr Mackey, please read more.<br> Have you seen 'Sicko' by Michael Moore?<br> Have you travelled abroad?</p> <p>I am shocked. Never putting my foot in Whole Food again in my life.</p> <p>Shame on you, Mackey, shame on you.</p>
11/26/2009 2:53:00 PM CST
Marene Peel says ...
<p>I wholeheartedly endorse your Health Care Reform. I am very much an advocate of individual/patient empowerment and responsibility. I have in these past years done exactly that; by being personally responsible for my own health, I have become healthier than I was 20 years ago, by practicing the laws of health, I am younger than I was 20 years ago.<br> There tends to be a consistency in people who disreguard the laws of health and eat just whatever they want, to also want someone else to take responsibility for their health. Its quite simple, responsible people take responsible actions. I love this country because we are free to make our own choices, government control takes those 'choices' away.</p>
12/02/2009 6:49:00 PM CST
Michelle says ...
<p>Dear John Mackey,</p> <p>Thank you for your thoughtful, informative, intelligent and well-written article on your proposed Health Care reforms. This is the best piece I have read so far on the topic! I am grateful someone had the courage to stand up and announce the truth: that health care is not a 'right' in this country any more than other goods or services. If there is one particular line of thinking that I believe has gotten this country in trouble, it is the 'entitlement' view of so many in this privileged nation. There needs to be a shift from an 'entitlement' to a 'responsibility' way of thinking that will help to curb the role of government in all areas of our lives and also therefore reduce the cost of goods and services.</p> <p>God bless,<br> Michelle</p> <p>P.S. I love Whole Foods!</p>
12/07/2009 11:59:00 AM CST
william stuber says ...
<p>It would be nice if your rarified view of the world were true. Show me where the 'free-market' that you support exists. Wall Street is a good example, the risks are socilaized and rewards privatized. We are the only industrialized country in the world that does not provide medical coverage to all it's citizens. This model that we have, and you defend, is a disgrace. Sure, people are too unhealthy and obese in this country, but look at the main reasons why. Factory farming, fast-food, all 'free-market' features. Most of the other socities of the world have at least recognized that there should not be a profit motive when it comes to the supply of the commodities necessary to sustain life. Healthy food cooperatives should take the place of organizations like Whole Foods, which has attempted to profit from people's desire to eat a healthy diet. I always thought that the criticisms of this company are deserved because of their undeniably high prices, now I see another reason that it is deserved, the radical right-wing opinions of its CEO.</p>
12/09/2009 5:12:00 PM CST
Whole Fools strikes again « Momâs Tinfoil Hat says ...
<p>[...] had known this earlier today, when I went to Whole Foods for the first time since John Mackey wrote this bunch of hooey that says we just need to deny more benefits to make the insurance companies make more [...]</p>
12/10/2009 9:11:00 PM CST
Peter says ...
<p>It's exciting to read rational arguments against socialized medicine by the leader of business serving mostly educated left leaning customers. They need to hear the other side.</p> <p>Predictably, most of the negative comments deliver ad hominen arguments that do nothing to address John Mackey's points.</p> <p>People, learn the arguments of both sides. Read the article and point out where you think he is wrong. Its no fun to debate when you attack based on illogical emotions instead of taking issue with the things he actually wrote.</p> <p>John's points show why the market cannot function optimally, *government* is getting in the way. It is criminal that the government interferes by making it so difficult to purchase high deductible health insurance. The vast majority of people are over insured. A person should be allowed to purchase insurance with as high a deductible as they want. The thousands of dollars of money they saved will make it easy for them to afford health care should they get sick. When they get sick it is much cheaper for the doctor to accept cash than deal with a insurance company. You wouldn't insure your patio furniture, why would you have a $250 deductible? You wouldn't get insurance to go see your tax preparer every year, why would you pay $400 a month (even if you don't see the cost because your employer uses your wages to pay it) to have a $250 deductible?</p> <p>One point he didn't mention is the collusion between the AMA and congress. Congress severely limits the number of residency spots schools may offer. This pushes the cost of doctors way up, and pushes the availability of their services way down. Tell your congressman that you think Harvard should be allowed to open as many residency positions as they see fit.</p> <p>Big bad capitalists are a hundred times worse when the government steps into their market and regulates them. If you read the article you know specific government regulations that drive up the cost of health care without providing any benefit. These polices consolidate power within industries enriching politically connected companies at your expense. Again, the consumer is not benefiting from these government regulations, the giant companies benefit </p> <p>Do insurance companies outside your state scare you? Do you really think you should not be allowed to use them? </p> <p>Do you want the government to limit Harvard on how many residencies they can have, making sure doctors make inflated salaries that you pay?</p> <p>Do you want your boss to determine what level of health care coverage you need because the government gives businesses health care tax breaks but not individuals? Whether your company pays you less but provides you insurance, or pays you more and does not, YOU are paying for your health care. Are you in a better position having no choice in the matter?</p> <p>Government is currently driving up the price of health care by removing your options and making the market far less competitive. I eagerly await an coherent argument that says this trend will be reversed if they gain more control.</p> <p>There is a reason the vast majority of technology was invented in the last 300 yrs. Its American capitalism.</p>
12/16/2009 12:37:00 AM CST
Rich Brown says ...
<p>Great article and excellent presentation on John Stossel's program this evening. It is amazing to me how this exellent article and approach results in the author being attacked on very personal levels, rather than considered and analyzed as an option to really consider. The passion of some Progressives to win at all costs is sad. Claiming to care about everyone and then acting totally contrary to those claims in viciously and emotionally rather than factually attacking anyone offering options that could really help is the ultimate in hypocrasy.<br> Are people better off being told what to do? Or being given the tools and responsibility to make their own decisions. The free market does workl when it is free. And crooks and cheats can be punished by enforcement of laws much better than regulating everyone that does not cheat. Well Done John Mackey. I sincerely hope your brave stand for your beliefs does not harm your business. But I fear that it might. I know it should not. You are a great leader of your business and we need more like you for our country.</p>
12/17/2009 9:41:00 PM CST
Kamau says ...
<p>Before I get started, I will make one general observation. Most conservative politicians in my opinion are 'wannabe libertarians with the fiscal discipline of a California Democrat'</p> <p>My point is that, on the surface, many of their principles are very sound. However, when in power they increase the size of gov't, and also run huge deficits.<br> Hence, the only difference between the right and the left is that the right is hypocritical about the role of gov't, and they both share totally different priorities in terms of where to spend the money and where to enlarge gov't. </p> <p>Only the libertarians (at a sizable national level) truly believe in a small gov't that sticks somewhat strictly to the constitution and doesn't run huge unsustainable deficits.</p> <p>So if my choice is between spending billions of dollars a month on unjust wars, military complexes, star wars missile defense systems and anti-terrorist data tracking systems of our on citizens or to plow that money into education and healthcare entitlements; because I know we will have huge deficits regardless (Both Bush 1 and Bush 2 and Reagan) I prefer to invest that money into the people.</p> <p>1. Remove the legal obstacles which slow the creation of high deductible health insurance plans and Health Savings Accounts. The combination of high deductible health insurance and Health Savings Accounts is one solution that could solve many of our health care problems. For example, Whole Foods Market pays 100% of the premiums for all our team members who work 30 hours or more per week (about 89% of all team members) for our high deductible health insurance plan, and provides up to $1,800 per year in additional health care dollars through deposits into their own Personal Wellness Accounts to spend as they choose on their own health and wellness. Money not spent in one year rolls over to the next and grows over time. Our team members therefore spend their own health care dollars until the annual deductible is covered (about $2,500) and the insurance plan kicks in. This creates incentives to spend the first $2,500 more carefully. Our plan's costs are much lower than typical health insurance, while providing a very high degree of team member satisfaction.</p> <p>Ok, let's deal with a few non-starters. While I understand that raising consumer deductibles may decrease consumption and some cost, it is a non starter for me on so many levels. </p> <p>1) Health insurance cost have skyrocketed over the last decade while median wages (for the middle class) have remained flat (See the chart below) Higher deductibles on middle income people is not only unfair but also takes even more money out of their pockets. Also the premiums have risen much faster than wages and inflation. So those deductibles will have to raise substantially to keep pace with cost in order for the employer to continue to offer the insurance.</p> <p>But even if you are able to reduce cost on the backs of the people that are already being screwed in terms of wages; this proposal is completely unfair and a complete non-starter for me.</p> <p>2) Because of the information and emotion involved in health, most people are incapable of making financially rational health care choices. So for example I don't think anybody would spend the $2,500 on preventive care, which reduces cost more than treatment.</p> <p>I don't mind some sort of health savings scheme that is tax exempt, but ANYTHING that puts even more pressure on the middle class is a non-starter.</p> <p>2. Change the tax laws so that that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have exactly the same tax benefits. Right now employer health insurance benefits are fully tax deductible for employers but private health insurance is not. This is unfair.</p> <p>No problem with this, but I find it ironic that he sees the unfairness there, but doesn't see how unfair it is to ask poor people to pay higher deductibles but not ask doctors to compromise on the 'pay for service model' (albeit I am working my way down). </p> <p>3. Repeal all state laws which prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines. We should all have the legal right to purchase health insurance from any insurance company in any state and we should be able use that health insurance wherever we live. Health insurance should be portable everywhere.</p> <p>Again, I have no issue with this. But admonish people that it is really not 'lack of competition' amongst insurers that are driving up cost. That is why I get frustrated when the dems keep talking about that. If lack of competition was the issue, this would be an easy market problem with a relatively easy market solution. All you would have to do is issue a bunch of grants to companies or start-ups that want to get into the health insurance business. The problem is that insurance companies can't control much of their input costs (hospitals, big pharma, gov't mandates and patient demands).</p> <p>I am from Charlotte; the bottle neck is the Charlotte Medical Center. If you start an insurance company that can't send clients there, I don't care who you are, you will go bankrupt in the first year. Charlotte Medical Center is the premier hospital and has a considerable amount of pricing power.</p> <p>So even if you have 10 insurers, they all got to deal with CMC. And the same is situation exist with the big drug manufactures.</p> <p>In reality, this law will do to the insurance industry what it has done for the credit card industry. ALL the insurance companies will be 'based' (on paper) in one particular state which offers the most lenient legal and tax requirements.</p> <p>But I wish the dems. would agree to this just so that we can move on. I don't think it will hurt.</p> <p>4. Repeal all government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover. These mandates have increased the cost of health insurance many billions of dollars. What is insured and what is not insured should be determined by individual health insurance customer preferences and not through special interest lobbying.</p> <p>Again, we are not talking about Walmart. This is a consumer protection issue.<br> Insurance companies would have a field day with this one. Wow, you have been diagnosed with 'A1B2 5000 breast cancer'. We don't cover that. And I don't even what to go into the racial and ethnic discrimination that would occur.</p> <p>And yes, he is right; this form of regulation does probably increase the cost of insurance by billions of dollars. That is precisely why we need it. I am sure mandated safety standards cost the automotive industry billions of dollars as well. But do you want to get rid of those?</p> <p>And I love the way he says how the 'insured should be determined by individual health insurance customer preferences'. </p> <p>There are hundreds if not thousands of policies out there which gives people choice. </p> <p>Just like you can buy a car with 1 airbag or 2.</p> <p>These laws have more to do with creating a uniform industry standard, to prevent me from finding out while I am in the operating room that actually only my right leg was covered.</p> <p>5. Enact tort reform to end the ruinous lawsuits that force doctors into paying insurance costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. These costs are ultimately being passed back to us through much higher prices for health care.</p> <p>2 points on this. </p> <p>1) I completely understand that the legal industry is milking the system and in bed with the dems, but if my doctor removes my liver instead of my kidney; i don't want to be told that I can only sue for up to 250K!!!</p> <p>2) The financial benefits of tort reform are wildly exaggerated. [Taken from the NY Times]<br> 'According to the actuarial consulting firm Towers Perrin, medical malpractice tort costs were $30.4 billion in 2007, the last year for which data are available. We have a more than a $2 trillion health care system. That puts litigation costs and malpractice insurance at 1 to 1.5 percent of total medical costs. That's a rounding error. Liability isn't even the tail on the cost dog. It's the hair on the end of the tail.'</p> <p>6. Make health care costs transparent so that consumers will understand what health care treatments cost. How many people know what their last doctor's visit cost? What other goods or services do we as consumers buy without knowing how much they will cost us? We need a system where people can compare and contrast costs and services.</p> <p>Have no problem with that at all. But bear in mind that not all healthcare providers are created equal. The hospital has to remain open 24 hours and treat the uninsured, under insured poor and other A&amp;E victims. Your local MRI center doesn't. So yes the MRI center's MRI's will be a lot cheaper then the hospital's MRI. But if everybody rushes over there to get their MRI's done, the hospital will go bankrupt. Since the city can't allow that to happen, we will still end up subsidizing the bankrupt hospital because you can't have a city with no hospital. That is why I keep saying that it is not a normal market. There are some things that could be done to improve the hospital business model however.</p> <p>Will look at the rest later. got to run. </p> <p> RISING PREMIUMS<br> Year Single Family</p> <p>2000 $2,471 $6,438<br> 2001 $2,689 $7,061<br> 2002 $3,083 $8,003<br> 2003 $3,383 $9,068<br> 2004 $3,695 $9,950<br> 2005 $4,024 $10,880<br> 2006 $4,242 $11,480<br> 2007 $4,479 $12,106<br> 2008 $4,704 $12,680<br> 2009 $4,824 $13,375<br> Source: Kaiser Family Foundation; Health Research &amp; Educational Trust</p>
12/18/2009 1:57:00 PM CST
5 Social Media Lessons Learned from Whole Foods says ...
<p>[...] fact, when Mackey responded to some of the criticism on his company blog, rather than turn off comments to the post, they encouraged people to express [...]</p>
12/20/2009 6:22:00 PM CST

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